# How does the Indian Institute of Technology compare?

1. Mar 15, 2009

### Loren Booda

Versus MIT, CIT, etc.?

2. Mar 16, 2009

### Wellesley

Indian or Indiana Institute of Technology?

3. Mar 16, 2009

### maze

Since he put it in the same sentence as mit, caltech, I would assume he means the
Indian Institutes of Technology

I would also be interested in hearing the answer to this.

4. Mar 16, 2009

### Unknot

My understanding is that although the admission standards are notoriously hard, as a university, factoring in research and faculty, IIT is not in the league of MIT or Caltech. People say this about Tokyo or SNU or KAIST, and these schools are very difficult to get into, but they are nowhere near the research output of MIT.

5. Mar 16, 2009

### MATLABdude

I talked to a colleague of mine who went there for his undergrad. The admission stats are a little skewed because everybody in India (who actually goes through formal education) sits the exams, regardless of how realistic their chances of getting in are.

6. Mar 17, 2009

### MATLABdude

I don't know if this is a fair comparison to make or not, but it does seem to be true...

a) How many non-Americans apply / get admitted to Harvard, MIT, etc. for undergraduate?

b) How many non-Indian undergraduates (from the West) apply / get admitted to the IITs?

7. Mar 18, 2009

### ank_gl

this is ridiculously lame, education system in India is pretty much stupid & stands just for the sake of being in place.

All through 12 years of schooling, students are made to know, not understand anything. Examination system is pathetic here, whenever the government changes, the CBSE(Central Board for Secondary Education) changes the books(maintained by NCERT, National Council of Educational Research & Training) to make money for their publishers. All books have terrible number of mistakes, no one even bothers to review them before publishing, there is no effect of complaining because everyone knows that they ll themselves change the books in 2-3 years. Just a few days back, I was teaching my younger brother(class IX) & honestly, I was shocked to read that sound waves obey laws of reflection & its intensity at any other angel than the reflected angle is negligible(totally lame, ****ing bastards), I wrote an email to NCERT & havent had any reply yet. Students are discouraged to do anything but study the topic, no practical training, no vocational skills, & whatever there are, they are extremely lame(cutting a triangular shape from paper & proving that sum of any 2 sides is greater than the last one). First competitive exam(the BOARD exam, as it is called) in schools comes in 10th standard, even there students are made to appear in 3 practice exams to appear for the final exam(super ultra lameness, students practically remember the page numbers of the books after this).

So called IIT cracking preparation starts during 11th standard, & the lameness kicks up 100000 notches here, students enroll themselves in so called COACHING centers, which loads the student with unnecessary **** all through the next two years(senior secondary period). Their technique is simple, make the pupil do as many problems of IRODOV's physics & similar level books for maths & chemistry, without any knowledge of the subject, but only the formulas for it.
http://www.india-server.com/news/iit-jee-fails-to-get-the-best-talent-2611.html [Broken]

On an average 600,000 students pass out from senior secondary school, almost 400,000 of these are engineering aspirant(which somehow is the only dream of every Indian parent, note that student never gets to know what is happening, he is a goat, he has to do it, coz daddy says so, else you die), India has in total about 10,000 ok ok engineering seats(its only ok ok, engineering here, duh.. forget it). Guess what does those nearly 390,000 students do, well some of them commit suicide(peer pressure), some of them again go back to those ****ing coaching classes to re-mug the formulas, rest go into private engineering colleges, which are nothing but money making factories for few ministers & business man(education is sold here), most of the students passing out from these cheap(not the tuition fee, its pretty hefty) private engineering colleges produce engineers who work at call centers.

Now the better engineering schools, what? how often does one hears about an Indian Engineer leading a world team of engineers in some innovative project?? or atleast be a part of it, extremely rarely. So what about all those indians who are famous in US, well simple, they are not indians, they were all born in US or atleast had the better parts of their lives in a developed country. Its a repetition of school time, mug-plug-chug hurray!! theme all over again. Most of the students from IITs dont even go to core engineering services, they go for MBA or some like money making factories.

But still, IIT isnt that bad, its the premium institute of the country... wait, comparing to MIT? CalTech?

ahh.. almost forgot it, are people in developed countries aware of the reservation system used in India? 50% of students are admitted in IIT with super dumb brains because of idiotic government policies to gain vote banks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reservation_in_India

FINAL RESULT: its the lamest place to study, better go to iraq & play boom boom osama.

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
8. Mar 18, 2009

### WiFO215

Have to agree with the above post whole-heartedly. I think there was a similar thread sometime back about memorising stuff in school where I posted something similar to the above post.
Mug-plug-chug!
That was so funny!!! :D.
I believe we have some IIT students on PF. What do they have to say about this?

9. Mar 18, 2009

### j93

In physics that preparation helps Indians kill the Physics GRE. They alone skew the average. There education seems to work really well at preparing them for standardized exams and eventually have their country be extremely competitive for US grad admissions. The only I suppose would be that it makes so many 900+PGRE that it creates really stiff competition.

10. Mar 19, 2009

### ank_gl

thats the entire point, the education system has molded itself to the needs of examination. students rarely know anything beyond the course.

Recently I was watching TV, Mr Ratan Tata(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratan_Tata) said that almost all graduating engineers are non employable, they have to be put through a training regime for at least 6 months.

Its pretty embarrassing:shy:

students are animals here, they ll do whatever comes their way to get food.(duh.. cracking an exam!! no big deal). I am 21, one of my classmate is 29, he kept taking the exam for straight 7 years before he finally got the admission.

11. Mar 19, 2009

### MATLABdude

Even in the West, I don't think your standard fresh-from-university engineering student is ready to go from day one (unless they've previously worked at the company/organization, and on the project they're being assigned to). I think most fresh-from-school engineers spend a month or few doing orientation work. And most engineers don't actually use a whole lot of the stuff they learn in school (though it builds towards your "aggregate" knowledge and makes it easier when you need to (re)learn something). Unfortunately, unless you're a very special personality type, most of the stuff you learn needs to be used, or you'll forget (but it's easier to learn something the second time around).

That said, the most important skill you learn in engineering is how to problem solve. I don't know how much of that you can get by blindly memorizing stuff, but at the same time, there's just so much information to process in your standard engineering degree that you sometimes just have to accept stuff, move on, and hope that you actually understand stuff later (or that you just never see it again).

As for the guy that spent 7 years trying to get in, I think you have to certainly admire his persistence! If not the amount of money he must've spent prepping and taking the tests (I assume this was the case).

12. Apr 11, 2009

### potmobius

HILARIOUS post on indian education! Truly amazing! haahhahahahahahahha! VERY well put. I've been through some of it, so I know. But somewhere in the way, I did question WHY? and developed a really genuine interest in science. Now I'm in the land of Caltech, the interest has turned into intense passion. Now I'm aspiring to study at Caltech, and REALLY hope I will get in. The slight problem is that I came a little late, and so I don't have a decent amount of ECA's or participation in science-related activities; but I'm gonna make it up this summer. Wish they had such opportunities in India... so many of physics phanatics :!!) like us would have gotten a good opportunity to actually work on something... but oh well.... Hope India finds a good leader soon.....

13. Jun 12, 2009

### rahulsd09

i agree that there is quite a lot of truth in what ank_gl has said...however, there are a few points that i feel differently about....i too have gone through the routine of coaching classes for jee preparations(and cleared the exam), and it involves very little mugging.....however, coaching classes for jee are almost essential because the schools teaching involves a lot of mugging, for the board exams, which are common for all in the science stream, irrespective of the stream they wish to pursue further...(engineering, medical,pure sciences, etc...) and because the depth to which board studies explore the topics is very less as compared to jee..however, i must stress that it does not mean that jee preparations are exam oriented.....i followed the lectures in my coaching classes, tried to understand the applications, and then tested my understanding against sums (which involve little of formulae and more of application of basic concepts..)....and did not mug up anything....i did not prepare at all for any other exam, except taking a look at the model question papers a few days before exams....yet i performed decently in all of them...(a perfect score in phy and maths for SAT 2, 2nd in school for boards, and so on..)....compared to that some of my friends who had prepared exclusively for particular exams didnt do as well as me in them...this shows that the exams do not "require" mugging.....its the students( and unfortunately parents and teachers) who opt for it....

let me explain the general scenario
The intense competition (due to the sheer population...and the parent's wishes that their child be an engineer or doctor and the misplaced notion that all other courses are useless) and lack of sufficient seats has made the "students" opt for exam oriented studies...the system has only one problem that its focus is almost completely on academic performance in theory exams and not much on other activities...(extra curriculars, projects, etc...) though the Central board (CBSE) does give some stress on project activities (like making a pocket guide on first aid...)....which again are looked at by students as only a source of marks....they copy the information from sources like wikipedia and take printouts or write them out, but hardly take a look at the information themselves, except to verify that it pertains to the topic....

Due to the high degree of competition, students go for mugging up textbooks so as to get near perfect scores in theory exams....and mug up formulae for solving sums....which works for most exams.....

however, the entrance exam for IITs....called the JEE..(joint entrance exam) is an exception.....it asks questions that test the understanding of concepts, and in most cases it is impossible to solve the questions without proper understanding of concepts involved...(most because some questions in chemistry are at times memory based...)...the exam is not so much difficult as it is different....different from all other exams in india...

then the question is what makes the IITs research output so low?
the answer is the priorities of majority of indian students....which lie in a high paying jobs, since economic situation of a majority of the population is not really comfortable....hence, most students join jobs immediately after graduation.....some do MBA after graduating, and take up high paying management jobs...few go for further specialization from some US university, and settle there, again mostly with the fat paycheck as a priority...hardly anyone opts for research, and if they do, its generally in a US univ.....that makes it hard to compare IITs with US univs like MIT, Caltech, etc....coz IITs do have quite high standards of education at the undergraduate level, but they mostly produce professionals who take up jobs in companies as soon as they are eligible to, or leave the institute to go to US....this leaves the research output (mainly from the few students doing phd there and still interested in research despite having gone through the mugging routine of the majority of the education system) quite low....the fact that the cream of the lot has already left the institute after graduation doesnt help....

14. Jun 12, 2009

### Dragonfall

Wasn't the deterministic polynomial time prime testing algorithm discovered by a team from IIT?

15. Jun 12, 2009

### rahulsd09

btw
a prob with the facts(though i doubt they were as facts....probably for a comparison of no. of engg aspirants from science stream) that ank_gl stated is that the no. of students are too low....the no. of students giving the AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Exam) this year was over 1 million....and yet a large no. of students give only their respective state entrance exam (called CET or Common Entrance Test) and not the all india one thats AIEEE.....gives one some idea about the degree of competition in the stream...

16. Jun 12, 2009

### Topher925

ank_gl, while I COMPLETELY agree with you I think you are missing the whole point of going to a school, and that is to get a good job. I know a few graduates from IIT and none of them are exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer. But to companies like Fanuc and Dow, they could care less. Myself and many other fellow engineering grads have been racially discriminated from even APPLYING to many jobs because we are not Indian. Their argument is that graduates from India dominate on all standardized exams and therefor are the best educated. I'm sure everyone here has the same opinion about generalized exams but unfortunately none of us run the HR department at any multibillion dollar companies. So while us evil white males get shafted, students from India get prime pickings at the best and highest paying engineering jobs (around here anyway).

17. Jun 15, 2009

### ank_gl

:surprisedreally?? well, that's a first. Where do you live?

Anyways, its no point whining about it. Its just the way it is.

@rahulsd09
No matter how much we down play the coaching institutes, its still the best way to get into IITs. But that doesn't mean its the rightful way. I did not take any coaching classes, I never went to any tuition classes, & I did pretty well in JEE, but couldn't get what I wanted, so had to move on. but I can't complain of anything now, its useless.

18. Jun 15, 2009

### ank_gl

phew.. long post!!
In the discussion, we left the 4 years between the JEE and graduation. I think that's the period where most of the maturity & decisions come by, and a lot has to do with the college itself. The kind of mates you get, the kind of professors you get, the kind of environment, all of that influences your decisions.
When you see 95% of the class(rather college) cramming up dictionaries to crack CAT(common admission test for MBA in IIMs), that doesn't help.(@rahulsd09, I am sure you have come across it)

19. Jun 16, 2009

### PalashD

There are good things in India if you open up your eyes and look for them.[Though that would require extreme x-ray vision]. But when you look past IIT and the standard engineering here in India there are good colleges by Indian standards [please do not compare them with the likes of Princeton, Caltech and MIT it would be like comparing a F-22 raptor with a plane from the 2nd world war] like CMI, NISER, IISER[admissions here are comparitively a bit easy] which impart good education in science and there are good research institutes also.

20. Jun 16, 2009

### ank_gl

which was precisely the point of this thread.

I never said there are no good things in here. Sure there are, but again, that wasn't the point of the thread

21. Jun 20, 2009

### Amar.alchemy

@ank_gl
I completely agree with you.... our education system is in pathetic condition, our government is corrupted, we don't have strong leaders who can see the future and we are unpatriotic.

However, I would like to signoff with the below quotations in which i strongly believe:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies." - Quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption
And i HOPE, Someday we will break these chains and keep on flying.... (Flipsyde )

22. Jun 21, 2009

### physicsnoob93

Yes, his name was Narendra Karmakar.

By the way, about the IITs, I don't think very highly of them. Over here in Singapore, the IITians really aren't all that. People from other other indian universities, international universities or even local universities get much a much higher pay and at a much higher rank than those from IIT or even IIM. Haughtiness not intended, but even my father is from BIT Mesra and has a "better job" than IITians who are of the same age as him over here, maybe because he went to Mesra when he was 14, but the point is, it doesn't matter once you're out of university, you will define your own future depending on the decisions you make after university. There are many I know at very high ranks even though they are from some unknown university in india.

Every few years I hear about Barclays offering someone from IIM or Microsoft offering someone from IIT 150000 USD pa for their first job. So? There are probably other people in other universities that get such offers, just that newspapers in India (obviously) won't report it.

Yes, the IITians have contributed to the American Society, as many claim, but anyone could have done the same from any other university. And by far, I believe institutes like MIT and Caltech have contributed more to American Society than IITs. Another point here is, seeing how many of them went to America supports the point that their prime motivation is money and a good standard of living. Even if the case is otherwise, considering famous IIT alumnus, the fact that they wanted to do a masters at places like Caltech and Berkeley (Narendra Karmaker) or CMU (Vinod Khosla), shows that they might not think of IITs worthy enough to do a masters too.

About the Indian Education System. I completely agree with some of the people who post here. It's very rote-based although some students are brilliant enough to truly understand the concepts. Also, I feel the Indian Education system isn't motivating enough in terms of interest in that subject. For the average IIT aspirant, money and "reputation" is more of a motivation to get into the IITs than the actual interest in the subject. There are of course, quite a few exceptions to this. I don't blame them for this though. The (Indian) Society is very meritocratic. Especially in the fields of Science and Engineering because of the lack of funds and large population.

For a more concrete measure, compare the alumni of the IITs to that of MIT. MIT since 1958 (When IIT Bombay was set up) easily has much more notable contributors to society than all of the IITs put together. Heck even the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Purdue, Georgiatech all have more influential people in their alumni than all the IITs put together. And if I don't want to compare with just US universities, look at ETH Zurich or Imperial College. If someone says it's because of the endowment, I would agree to an extent. But aren't things in India cheaper? But yes, still, I would think funding is still a problem. That's probably why IITs don't have many nobel laureates.

That said, I wouldn't mind going to an IIT because it is a very good institute and I would learn a lot from my peers there. I have seen the syllabus and course at IIT, and felt its a tad bit more challenging than other top tier universities. But if I got into both UIUC and IIT, I would choose UIUC over IIT. IIT is still good though, I just feel it's overhyped. The entrance exam is not the hardest thing in the world, but the time constraint makes it challenging.

Just my opinion.

Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
23. Jun 22, 2009

### maverick280857

Hi Anurudh..a mixture of amusement and shock at the evolution of this thread...my first thoughts

Its amazing how people make http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasty_generalization" [Broken] based on limited data, faulty statistics and mostly word of mouth chatter. While this thread has been fascinating in exhibiting the varied opinions people have about IITs, I'm not sure how it answers the original query. Technically, you need to be at place X and at an IIT (there are so many of them now and thats another problem, but we'll come to that shortly) to be able to compare. So first of all, since I haven't been at place X (for all X \in U\{y: y is an IIT}) I am not fit to comment. But let me give it a shot now that I've started to type..

For various reasons which are not worthy of being debated here lest they waste the time of all the OPs here, there has been a decline in the standards of IIT education over the years. My father studied at an IIT several years ago and I have almost finished my degree at an IIT. Indeed, what I studied and the way I studied it leaves much to be desired when I hear about the features of the education he had. As is the (sad) situation with most things in our country, money that should be spent in strengthening institutions that exist is being spent in establishing new ones. Everyone understands that a finite number of good quality education imparting institutions are better than an arbitrarily large number of shoddy institutions. So that is as far as the standards debate goes.

Yes, money seems to be an overriding factor in deciding in favour of an IIT or a major at an IIT. Yes, society seems to have declined blah blah..but from what I gather by reading so many posts on PF made by students worrying about job prospects and how much money they can make (surely justifiable concerns) with a certain kind of degree or coursework, I don't see how the situation is drastically different elsewhere.

A good thing about IIT education is its holistic nature. Three and a half years ago, I could never have imagined studying so many diverse things as an electrical engineer...from electronic circuits to philosophy, literature, quantum field theory, algorithms, yoga, etc etc. This is because IITs were modeled on MIT and other US universities at the time. Sure, things have changed, there is less freedom and more bureaucracy in the way the entrance exam is conducted, the autonomy seems to have been lost somewhat, but despite all that there is something good that is still alive: the student spirit. Its just fascinating how diverse IITs are -- you get to interact with different people all sharing a common passion for science and technology.

I don't think IITs should be written off just because they're falling off the charts, or there are problems. Certainly, "pay packages" and "salaries" being used as criteria to judge IITs conveys a very constipated approach to assessment. I don't think there's been a single Nobel laureate from IIT, and yes, alumni may have contributed much more to non-Indian societies. But isn't that due to an inherent aspiration among most students to leave for better prospects there. There are a lot of hard working people trying to make prospects better here itself, and we're getting there...don't forget that admissions to IITs are largely based on socio-economic pressures for an escape with a "secure future". Such cliches will take several years to change.

As someone has pointed out, it is not fair to compare IITs with US univs...the system, education and pattern is entirely different. The main difference is that while in India, a degree is more of a requirement than an object of desire, in the US there are several other career avenues and students are therefore able to think more holistically during high school than just blindly following the herd to "do" engineering. That said, the "IITs with buildings" (I am referring to the 7 or 8 that are "time tested") have a great undergrad program which in its diversity, richness, rigor, quality and reputation, is unmatched. So, if the other univs in the country can match up to these standards and better them, we'll have the same kind of environment that exists in the US -- several good universities, interested people, motivated students, etc.

Can't say the same about the infinitely many new IITs that have opened up. Sorry.

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
24. Jun 23, 2009

### ank_gl

Exactly, there aren't so many "successful"(assumed) career options here.

That would not be fair to say. You do know that IITs are centrally funded, while other universities are either state funded or are private. Privates are always running for , so they don't even stand any chance of redemption. State universities don't show the promise of IITs simply because no one cares. The bureaucracy, the management, the administrators aren't made much credible or accountable to the state in terms of education, funding etc, they are just goons & thugs. While IITs are only 7(at least a couple of year back, only 7 were there)& are somehow still clearer than state U.

I dunno about cranking up the standards, but I am sure the government is desperate to equalize IITs with state universities. With insanely stupid HRD & several new things coming up, IITs soon wont bite that hard(sadly).

25. Jul 17, 2009

### sidz_bitz

I wanted to bring to this discussion a d/f prespective(as everyone does).

Firstly, starting from where the question was posted, I think the question is not valid. And here are my reasons. Its like comparing two complex numbers. Firstly, USA is a developed nation while India is still developing. Secondly, MIT was established in 1861 whereas first IIT was established in 1950. USA and India are quiet different but each stands in their own place and i fear that bring them all onto the same scale for comparision would be against the law of diversity of nature.

Secondly, I guess people in this forum are being too critical of IIT's Research by the IITians. I very much agree with the fact that most part of the Society runs behind money and more so with Indian society as they are still developing but then the decision of doing research at the same place where you did your bachelors may not be the right thing. You will be in the same place, I dont c how it doesnt inspire monotonity. Research as i see it, is a search for new ideas. This kind of search must be done at a new place because random mixture is a proved way of creativity.

Thirdly, about the Indian education system I do accept that it is bad shape and alot of things needs to be done to improve them. But overall any education system has lesser role than the individuals. As someone pointed out that any degree from a lesser known universities could also get you a job which is better paying that the premier institutions only if the student has evolved a great interest and skills in the particular sphere of knowledge. The important thing to be acknowledged here is that insititues are just breeding ground for talent, from the same place we may get a genius and a failure. The thing which differentiates them is the experience they have. It would be really unfair to the basic premise of logic if we start to generalize.